Maybe you heard about the AT&T/Time Warner merger or maybe you haven’t or maybe you just don’t care but make no mistake about it, it’s one of the most important business deals that has the potential to radically and detrimentally change the future of our media.
The two companies announced the deal a few weeks ago and it created a slur of media attention as politicians from both sides of the aisle have publicly condemned the deal.
“The world of distribution and content is converging and we need to move fast and if we want to do something truly unique, begin to curate content differently, begin to format content differently for these mobile environments, and this is all about mobility,” said AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson in an interview on CNBC
Senator Bernie Sanders, in particular, wrote a fervent letter to the Acting Assistant Attorney General calling the deal bad news for Americans.
“This merger represents a gross concentration of power that runs counter to the public good and should be blocked,” said Sanders in the letter.
The ”gross concentration of power” the Senator refers to is the fact that the merger would give AT&T unrivaled might in the media business. The unholy union would give the telecom giant ownership of some of the best and largest amounts of media content. Couple that with the fact that AT&T is one of the largest distributors of said content in the US, it would completely stifle competition within the market.
Donald Trump has even had a few words to say about the deal in a campaign stop in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
“Deals like this destroy democracy,” Trump said at the rally.
While Trump’s ire may stem from his previous dealings with NBC/Comcast, the network that once hosted his show, nonetheless it is remarkable to see politicians as polarizing as Trump and Sanders agree on something.
Besides the fact that it would destroy business and competition, the merger would also mean that prices for watching media we enjoy now like HBO, CNN and Warner Bros. would rise to horrific levels. People are already “cutting the cable” to avoid paying the absurd costs associated with television providers and if AT&T would be allowed to devour Time Warner whole, be prepared to have to such prices rise again.